New York Rangers: Examining trade speculation about Mitch Marner

*DISCLAIMER: THE FOLLOWING IS ALL BASED ON SPECULATION AND IS NOT A REAL TRADE RUMOR.

There is trade speculation surrounding New York Rangers’ captain Ryan McDonagh and Toronto Maple Leafs forward Mitch Marner. Let’s take a look at what a potential trade would imply for the Rangers going forward.

If there’s one thing sports fans love to do, it’s speculating about possible trades your team can make to improve its roster. Recently, there was speculation online about possible trade scenarios for the Rangers and Ryan McDonagh.

The New York Post’s Larry Brooks wrote an article in November about McDonagh and moves the Rangers could make involving him. He wrote,

“If [Jeff] Gorton could create a bidding war between the clubs that appear the East’s elite, perhaps the Rangers could come back with Mitch Marner from Toronto…”

This is not the first time that Brooks has brought up trading the Rangers captain. It is also not the first time Mitch Marner’s name has been brought up in those trade speculations.

The idea of trading McDonagh for Marner sent Rangers fans straight to Twitter to debate both for and against the idea. Let’s follow in their footsteps and dive into what a trade for Mitch Marner would entail and how the Rangers roster would look going forward with Marner added into the mix.

What a Marner Trade Would Look Like

The Toronto Maple Leafs have a lot of young offensive talent. Right now, many of those players are still on their rookie entry-level contracts. However, soon they will be restricted free agents and will be looking for raises. They will most likely have to part with one of those forwards and maybe that could be Marner.

The 2015 fourth overall pick is in his second season with the Leafs. He came in fifth in the Calder Trophy voting last season with 19 goals and 42 assists, totaling 61 points.

Marner has been struggling somewhat this season. He has spent most of his time on the fourth and third lines for the Leafs and is not producing as much offensively. He is also not currently playing in his natural center position.

Despite this, Marner could still add to the Rangers depth at center. The Maple Leafs could also benefit from having a veteran defenseman like McDonagh.

So what if these teams made a deal? A straight McDonagh-for-Marner deal would change the look of both teams. It would especially affect the look of the Rangers team going into the future.

Marner’s entry-level contract expires at the end of the 2018-2019 season. He may expect a large raise in both salary and term, but the Rangers could sign him to a “bridge” contract that lasts two years. This contract could last the Rangers until some bigger contracts, like Marc Staal’s, are off the books.

If Staal and Nash departed (like he might after this season) and Marner got a long-term deal with the Rangers, the team now has a much younger look to it. Add young talent the Rangers already have like Filip Chytil and Lias Andersson into the mix and they now are extremely deep up the middle for seasons to come.

Paying the Price

Of course, this hypothetical situation would come at a price: the loss of the Rangers captain. McDonagh would be the second captain in a row to leave the team via trade.

Losing a leader in the locker room can affect a team more than losing what they contribute statistically every night. Trading McDonagh goes beyond sending one player to a team for another that can boost your lineup. Trading McDonagh means shaking up the leadership core of the team and losing your captain of three years.

Fans and journalists can continue the debate about what trades make sense for the Rangers, but it can’t be denied that the McDonagh-Marner deal is an interesting concept to explore. The Leafs could get a veteran defenseman they need and the Rangers could get the offensive depth they need.

Like I said, this is all just speculation, Marner is a player that could impact the Rangers almost immediately. He would also play a role in the team’s future going forward should he come to New York.